Friday, July 24, 2009

The states where Obama's doing better and why

So far in 2009 PPP has polled on Barack Obama's approval rating in 16 states. In four of them, his approval is more than three points greater than the percentage of the vote he earned at the polls in November. Every one of them is a southern state he lost by a healthy margin: Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Kentucky. He's by no means popular in these states now- fewer than half the voters in each approve of the job he's doing- but it's an interesting trend.

It's occurring largely among white Democrats:

State

Obama Approval

Obama White Democratic Vote in 11-08

Obama White Democratic Approval

Alabama

45

47

72

Arkansas

47

68

74

Kentucky

46

62

69

Louisiana

44

38

51


I think most analysts' first instinct in discussing how poorly Obama did with white Democrats in these states would be to blame it on racism, but the fact that his approval ratings are now at least six points better than his share of the vote with that demographic leads me to consider another possible conclusion: maybe those voters just really liked John McCain. Even stripping away the races of the two candidates, it's not a stretch that to conservative white Democrats in SEC country McCain's profile would be more appealing than Obama's.

We can't authoritatively solve the question of whether racism was the major factor for these voters or not, but we probably can conclude that with a group of voters that was clearly skeptical of him last fall Obama has won over some converts. Certainly not enough to put these states in the Democratic column in 2012 or any time soon, but perhaps enough to keep Obama from being quite as much of a drag on Democratic candidates in these places as GOP strategists might hope he would be.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you polling Virginia this weekend?

It must be horrible for him there.

SurveyUSA just released a poll showing him at 44/49

Anonymous said...

SurveyUSA July State Obama Approvals (the net change from the previous month is in parenthesis):

Alabama: 42/56(-11)
California: 66/30(+4)
Iowa: 56/40(-2)
Kansas: 41/53(-12)
Kentucky: 41/55(-10)
Minnesota: 51/46(-18)
Missouri: 55/42(+7)
New Mexico: 61/37(+15)
New York: 63/34(-6)
Oregon: 54/42(-3)
Virginia: 44/49(-28)
Washington: 56/41(-15)
Wisconsin: 50/45(-16)

Anonymous said...

SurveyUSA has Obama's support among whites dropping from 50/45 in June to 37/57 in July in Virginia.

Your numbers confirming this collapse?

We can stretch this Gates incident out another week.

Anonymous said...

Pat Buchanan is that? Still pining for a race war?

alwaysfiredup said...

"Maybe they just really liked McCain."

Or, maybe they really liked Palin...

 
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